Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Did I Get Here? & Month End Stats

Ever get one of those quiet reflective moments that you are sitting there and wondering WTF happened to bring you to this point? That was me this morning at 5:45AM waiting for the Pilates Reformer Class. I will admit that I wasn’t feeling like my usual self and thus, I guess I wasn’t on auto-pilot.  I found myself in a reflective mood.
Photo- Diane Ross eat your heart out.  It's Ollie in drag!

I’m quietly sitting waiting in my frigid car in front of the pilates studio and attempting to think warm thoughts. The car heater hasn’t really been working since this latest cold snap and I’ve been meaning to check out to see if it’s just the anti-freeze that needs topping off. (I hope that’s all.) But I’ve been too busy to get it checked out and I’m not mechanically inclined at all. So, here I am freezing my butt off.

Just as my teeth are about to chatter, a car pulls up in the next parking stall. It’s another gal that’s in the pilates class with me. She’s sitting in her less than one year old shiny silver gray with black four door sedan Cooper with tunes and probably a heater that works. Meanwhile, I can't help but think about all of the steps that have led me to be sitting here in a freezing 11 year old scratched and dented (small dents & scratches from leaning my bike on it) silver station wagon that looks like I live out of it. Not that I’m jealous of the situation. I could be sitting there in a newer heated car if I chose to be. But it’s kind of strange that I’m relatively happy sitting here freezing in the old car that has me perplexed. What happened along the way that made me okay with that? Hmmm… Did I have a few screws that came loose along the way?!?

The more I thought; the more I found myself comparing...  I bet she lives in a cute little house with a spoiled cat or a springy young dog that loves to run. Meanwhile, I live in a one bedroom apartment that doesn't allow pets where most days my living room serves as a painting studio which leaves me inclined not to invite guests in. She probably has a productive job that she enjoys and she’s good at it too. Meanwhile, I’m passing the time as a lowly secretary/receptionist that answers phones and sometimes back talks to my boss. I really should be fired but for some reason I’m not. I will admit that my work is not fulfilling but I’ve reached a point where that’s not what I’m looking for. I opted out years ago to settle for an 8-5 type of steady job and I’m okay with that.  Not all of what I AM or who I AM is my job like some people.  I would have to say that I’m everything BUT my job to a certain extent. But overall, I’m happy with my life. Not that I couldn’t use some changes but overall I’m happy.

The pilates studio opens its doors. We both get out of our cars to head in and I can’t help but compare myself.   Now, is this mentally unhealthy of me to do this? I don’t think so. I see it as a litmus test. And so the comparison continues… She’s a tall blonde slender and looks like she’s ready for to model for a layout in a yoga magazine. Her hair is in smooth ponytail with matching headband. She’s wearing a matching black jacket with long yoga pants and black sleek tennis shoes.

Here I am looking like I’m homeless and look like I HAVE been living in my car. I’m in an oversized fleece jacket with a mismatched hoodie and almost threadbare yoga capris. I’m wearing knee high shearling winter boots, fingerless colorfully striped knitted gloves from some third world country and have topped off the whole affair with a black & gray skull cap to cover my bed head hair that is in BAD need of a color dye. So, in another words I look like I was literally dragged out of bed from my car.

We walk in and she (Ms. Yoga Model) is all sunny “Good Morning!” Meanwhile, I mumble “good morn” as I’m consciously trying to tug my hat off so my hair isn’t sticking straight up. You see, I really had a time trying to drag myself out of bed this morning for some reason. Which is really not LIKE me at all but my lack of being “put together” this morning seems very obvious when I’m staggering in with Ms Yoga Model next to me.

It’s later after the pilates class as I’m heading home in my still frigid car that I think that there MUST be a few screws loose as I’m happily puttering home to shower and change for work.  But I will admit that I wasn't happy with the scale when I got home.  It had been almost two weeks since I've stepped on it and I found myself up by 3 lbs.  Ouch!  Yep, there's some things that I want to change.

November's Monthly Stats--
27.5 miles running
60 miles cycling
3hours 11 minutes on the elliptical
Read 2 THICK books this month (bringing to a total of 55 books for year)
and ...
I'm up to #95 on the 100 Salt Lake City Porches Painting Project.  To view the progress of the project you can click here.  Here's the latest...
"100 Salt Lake City Porches, No.95"; Oil on 12" x 12" Canvas

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!  May your cup run nth over and may you be able to work off those extra calories you intake.  I'm off to enjoy a 5 day off in a row.  Yep, I decided to splurge and take an extra vacation day so I can be off for 5 days instead of the 4 days.  I'm planning on doing some painting, running, and maybe even a bike ride.  Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Snowshoe SWITCH-A-ROO, A REAL Snowshoe, & A Pilates Bit…

I was enthused and all set Saturday morning to go on my first snowshoe of the season. Saturday morning dawned white from snow falling most of the night, and it was still lightly snowing as I headed over to Diane’s house to meet. She had her van warming up as I transferred my snowshoe gear to her vehicle. I went in to play with Ollie for a bit and chat about where we were going to snowshoe.

Diane said there was this place up Emigration where her boss goes and she thought it might be fun to check it out. It sounded good to me. I asked if it was near the top of the canyon, and she said it was somewhere in the middle section behind a grouping of houses. She wrote down the directions her boss told her. Well, and Kym flaked and wouldn’t be able to join us.

It was as we were going up Emigration that Diane handed me the directions and said,” Here’s the directions read them out loud for me.” So I start reading…

“Emigration Canyon,
Up 3 miles or so look for Fire Station,
Take a left,
Drive up – house on right with red awning,
Take right...”

There are more directions but I stop there, and I say, “Gee, that sounds like its up by my friend Henry’s house.” I’m trying to place the area it in my mind. The “Human GPS” at work. I put the sheet of directions down and I’m waiting to get closer to the Fire Station. My brain thinks of the area we are driving to.

Diane tells me to the read the rest of the directions as she pulls off to the side into Ruth’s Diner parking lot. I think this is strange for her. “Please read the rest of the directions,” she says again. So I humor her…

“Drive past BIG dog house on left,
Turn left,
Old beater truck – take right,
Keep driving until road dead ends,
Walk up trail about ¼ mile,
Then take left up to crest.
AND this is all just a big joke to take you to breakfast to celebrate your birthday….”

“Oh MAN!” I laugh as Diane reaches in the back seat for a leopard printed feathered gift bag.
“Happy Birthday Girl!” Diane hands me the gift bag, “I’ve been planning this for a week. You are hard to pull a surprise on and I thought you were never going to finish reading those directions."  Shortly afterwards Kym showed up to join us and we had a nice breakfast and I got to open some presents. It was fun and a first that anyone’s pulled a successful birthday surprise on me.

On the way back to Diane’s we made arrangements for a REAL snowshoe the next morning. I arrive the next morning and as I get out of my car I yell jokingly,” Are we going for a REAL snowshoe this time?” Diane laughs and yep we really went on a snowshoe this time. Here are some photos from it…
I was surprised there was about 2ft of snow in the nearby mountains.
Snow was still coming down as we were snowshoeing around.
Myself in my glorified snowshoe gear.

Diane just being Diane!LOL!

This morning was my 10th pilates reformer class. It was the same teacher (Cathy) that I had two weeks ago where my abs hurt almost the entire week afterwards, and half way through the class she had asked me if it was my first pilates class. At that time, I had told her,” No but I have no core muscles.” I liked how she taught the class. She would go around the class and with her hands helped and talked me into how to do the proper position. She also is really good for helping me to push myself just a bit out of my comfort zone.

This morning, I was the first to arrive on a cold November morning. I told her that after her last class I took two weeks ago my abs hurt the rest of the week. We talked some more about how I was going to Jump Board and other early morning classes. She said that she hoped I would notice an improvement when I was in class today.

Lo & Behold! I surprised myself. I managed that head stand like position which I guess is called a “short spine”. It’s the same position I tried last Friday morning and had the machine come apart in my hand. I discovered I was doing it all wrong. I was bending my legs too early and I can be more stable if I keep my arms down straight against my side. There were still quite a few times in the class that I couldn’t really manage to do some of the positions in the class but I did notice that I’m managing more in each class; little by little.

I know I am progressing because my abs are not hurting as I’m sitting here writing this. I also have noticed that I’m getting more definition in my abs. Granted, I’m still WAY off from a six pack.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wait THAT’S My Plate & Jump Board Friday…

So a couple of days ago a friend texts me this picture…

WOW! Hey, who took my lisc. plate? THAT should be mine. I sent her a text back and told her to Repo THAT plate!! Of course, I would probably just hang it on my wall at home. I won’t want to actually put it on my car. That’s a bit TOO much All Good for my liking.

This morning I went to another pilates reformer jump board class. Yes, there was another session of the “Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone”. But before that lovely part of the class we ended up doing some more new and interesting things. We did a new move. We put two springs on, put our feet in the straps, clutched on to the shoulder holds and then we were SUPPOSED to PULL ourselves into a position that’s basically a head stand on the machine. Oh, how I was struggling. I couldn’t seem to pull my A$$ off of the pilates machine. I decided I needed to clutch the shoulder rest a bit harder and really try to pull with my non-existent abs.

The next thing I know…the shoulder rest is pulled out and in my left hand. I laughed and stated,” I think I’m not doing this right.” Sweet mild talking Laura ran over and helped put the shoulder rest back on the machine. I finally did manage to get into the head stand like position but I had to kick up my legs to get myself into the position. But it was a bit embarrassing because I’m breaking machinery. Well, maybe not but I was beginning to wonder just how bad of a calamity I was.

From the handstand we continue on with straps still on our feet but this time we are squeezing a blue 9” round plastic ball between our ankles. I teased Laura about really challenging my coordination now. Laura told us to “Squeeze that ball as your legs go from straight to table top, and back.” Then, she had us change our feet so that our toes were pointing out. It was challenging keeping the ball in place. OMG! Then, we were told to change our feet position to point our toes in toward each other, and continue with the table top legs to straight legs again. It was a relief when the ball of the gal next to me sprung out and across the room. I HAD to laugh and say I was waiting for that to happen to me.

One the last feats before the “Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone” exercise was doing the dog position on the reformer machine facing the wall and putting one leg straight out behind and using that back leg to jump horizontally. OMG! It’s a tangent of the “Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone”! Only on this one, I had to figure how to stay up in the dog position as I was jumping. Meanwhile I’m trying not to notice that I’m now starting to pour sweat down my forehead on the machine. Drip, drip, drip! I think this was the first time I’ve really broke out in a sweat in this class. Though, I will say that it seemed as though the building was warmer when we came in this morning; or I should say that I’d like to blame it on something else that was causing me to ”glow” & “glisten” So much.

It was almost a relief when we were directed to lay on our side on the machine and started in on the single side legs jumps which I refer to as “Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone”. I will say that my body is adjusting to this exercise because this afternoon as I’m typing this I don’t feel the pain in my saddle bags like I did last week. That’s a good thing. Though, I KNOW I still have those saddle bags because I’m still going up and down with the same weight this week too! Darn it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Plank Pathetic & A Pair of Characters…

Saturday night, I went over to assist a disabled friend who is the process of moving from an apartment into a condo. I’ve been trying to make myself available to her to help move some of the larger heavier items and also some of the articles that are higher up. We were sitting and taking a break at then end of the night.  As we are gabbing along the subject of my ability to do the plank position came up. She says she does it all the time as part of her therapy. I’m starting to feel about 4 inches tall because here’s a disabled person that’s able to do the plank and I can’t. How pathetic am I? Well, this morning she sends me a message and says, “Oh, by the way I was talking about a reverse plank position last night.” Whew~! That was a load off my mind because I was REALLY starting to wonder if I was just plain plank challenged! Well, I AM but…  Then I'm wondering... Wait a minute there's a reverse plank?  Maybe I'm focusing on doing the wrong plank!

Sunday afternoon, I’m out with the Popette doing our monthly Barnes & Noble visit. As we are getting settled with coffee in the café area of the store, the Popette talks with a guy nearby. He has three different thick tomes on the table in front of him; one of which is about 4 inches thick. She teases him about cramming for a professorship. He laughs and talks with her for a bit as I pick up our coffee order. The Popette and I start doing our catch up banter and I can see over the Popette's shoulder that Mr. Professorship is eavesdropping on our banter by the smirks and the quiet chuckles.

The Popette gets on the subject of a new poetry writing group that’s she’s been invited to join. It’s pretty prestigious for her to get into. She’s gone a couple of times to it. I ask her what she thought of the group. She comes back with,” They’re a bunch of A$$holes!” I can see Mr. Professorship’s jaw drop.  I chuckle because this is just classic Popette all the way.

I continue on,” So, let me get this straight you’ve gone two times. Did it take you two times to discover that they were A$$holes or is your learning curve getting slower?” I hear the chuckle erupt from Mr. Professorship. “No, no, no… I was just kind of quiet and unsure the first time I went….” I tease her about I could NEVER imagine her as being a quiet wall flower. Mr. Professorship is quietly laughing and shaking his head.

The Popette then goes on to tell of the dynamic of the group and to explain it was really just one overbearing person in the group that was TRULY the A$$hole. If it weren’t for this particularly “unsavory overbearing wench”, it could be an okay group. I can see that Mr. Professorship has forgotten about his tomes completely by this time.  I can see him shaking as he's silently chuckling.

Our lively banter continues on. I ask the Popette about her male companion; a dear sole who spends a great deal of time with her. I would describe him as a steady nice guy who literally worships the ground the Popette walks on but he’s a bit stale like dry toast around the edges. The Popette then goes on to tell how the two of them had a conversation this last week. Her companion was concerned about her dying before he did. The Popette found this very endearing that he didn’t want to live without her. Her companion responded that he was afraid that he was boring her to death.

This cracked me up! Meanwhile, I’m watching Mr. Professorship almost fall of his seat and he was laughing SO hard he looked ready to cry. Just watching Mr. Professorship over the Popette’s shoulder had me cracking up even harder. The Popette continued on with how she was SO surprised by her companion’s “one-liner” which WAS SO out of character that she ended up spitting out her coffee all over the place.

Later, the Popette took off to check out the Barnes & Noble store. A bit after that, Mr. Professorship got up to leave. I smiled at him and stated,” She’s quite the character, isn’t she?” He said,” You are both a pair of characters and you made my afternoon. Thanks!” Then, he left.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 & Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone!

Happy 11-11-11th! Not sure if it’s considered a happy type of thing or not. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I never quite understood the superstition with numbers; especially #13. I always think its funny when I’m on the 14th floor of a building and I’m REALLY on the 13th. Course, there’s not that many tall buildings in Salt Lake, so I don’t get to humor myself in this way very often.

On the old phone system at my work, I was extension #13. I always found that interesting that the main receptionist’s phone extension was #13. Literally, all the phone calls went through extension #13. If that’s not asking for doom, I don’t know what would be.

I guess there are lines in Vegas at all the wedding chapels of people wanting to get married today. I also don’t understand this but I guess it would make it easier to remember the anniversary date. Something I always forgot to remember when I was married. Ooops! I guess that’s another reason I’m still not married. I’m also waiting for 13/13/13 to get married; when that happens I’m sure that all heaven and hell will be aligned and it’ll be a prime time to get married. Other words, NOT happening!

So, I’ve been going to these pilates reformer classes. This morning I attended my 7th class. Each class has been a new experience in finding new muscles that I haven’t used in a while. It’s been a rather humbling experience to say the least. I’ve also discovered how unaware I am of my own body; which is VERY humbling indeed!

Since early morning Monday’s pilates class I have still been feeling a mild pain. I should say that the pain has progressed from OMG! to a now mild. It mildly hurts when I cough, sneeze, or attempt to bend over. As my friend Diane texted me- “Sounds like a proctology exam!” Yes, it’s been an interesting week to say the least.

Thus, Friday morning arrives and it’s Pilates Jump board class! Okay, I survived it 2 weeks ago and legs are my strong point. I run and I bike. My legs are my strength. I was doing okay until we started doing the side jumps. Basically, you are lying on your side on the machine and folding one leg beneath as you use your leg closest to the ceiling to jump. Now here’s the tricky part—you are kicking your leg out between jumps. Either you are kicking it out front, or up and out, or out to the back. This is for 10 times each, and done in 3 rounds. I’ve NOW discovered what I call—“Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone!”

It’s the latest NEW & IMPROVED way to get rid of any remnant of a saddle bag that was trying to hug on to you glute muscle. Repeat this exercise twice a week, for three weeks and you won’t remember what a saddle bag was! This afternoon while I’m typing this in at my desk, I can literally feel my saddle bags shrinking and Lo-and-Behold I only have four more classes to go to lose those nasty saddle bags! OMG!

Oh, and did I happen to mention I've been bouncing around up 1 lb then back down for the last two weeks!  DAMN that Saddle Bag!  If I could just lose THAT!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Plank + Pilates = OMG! I DO Have Core Muscles!

Yesterday morning, I went to my fourth class of reformer Pilates. About half way through the class the cute spunky bright red-headed instructor had us (a class of 7) do the yoga position the “plank” on the reformer machine.

Oh boy! I think to myself I have a hard enough time doing the “plank” position on solid ground let alone try to do it on a machine that slides around. So here I am struggling to get into a “plank” position as part of the machine is moving around. I finally figure out where to put my toes; in the crevice between the shoulder rests. I place my elbows/forearms on the other side of the machine and slowly try to push my body into a “plank” position. My face is forming into a grimace as I’m struggling to get into position but somehow I manage it much to my surprise, or so I thought…

The instructor comes by, gently puts a hand on my stomach area, and states that I need to bring my abs up more to be in-line with the rest of the “plank”. So much for thinking I was in “plank” position! “WHAT?!? OMG!” I think to myself. I really don’t think my body will do that but I try a little harder. My face forms into an even tighter grimace.

Then, the instructor says to curl in those toes and abs towards your head. WTF! You GOT to be kidding! But I try to curl my toes up and my face forms into a grimace SO tight that I’m concerned about my eyes popping out of my head. Now I’m sure I’m starting to look like snarling bull dog. My bottom lip is almost to the tip of my nose. But instead of snarling, I’m emitting a small whimpering sound.

The instructor, then gently states to go back into plank position, I look up at her. I guess my grimace looked pretty darn funny because she breaks out laughing. It’s rather embarrassing to say the least! With that, I totally collapse into the machine. Meanwhile, everyone else in the class is still in “plank” position.

It’s as my friend Diane and I are leaving the class that I state that I must have NO core muscles at all. Diane laughs and states,” That’s why you are here! But I’m sure you have some core muscles.” It’s later in the day when I’m sitting at my desk at work that my core “abs” are SO sore. I’m sitting straighter than I’ve ever sat and taking small shallow breathes because anything else hurts. OWWWwwwie! My Abs! My Abs!

My abs are STILL sore today and it’s a whole day after. I texted Diane this morning...

“Holy crap Batman! I DO have core muscles! Who knew!?!?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick-or-Treaters, Bike Rides, & A Month End...

I had 2 trick-or-treaters that showed up on my door step last night. It surprised me and I was totally unprepared. All I could offer them were Clift Sports Bars. One of the kids just gave me a look like, “What in the Heck is this?” I offered to give him cherry-flavored sports beans instead. “Beans?! No Lady, that’s okay, “and they walked down the hall to the next door. For two years, I’ve been prepared for kids to visit my apartment door and never had anyone show. It would figure the one year, I’m unprepared I have a couple show. Go figure!

The whole group of riders at the 5th Annual Tricky Treat Costume Ride!

First Place Costume Prize- Minnesota Viking and her trusty steed!
The 5th Annual Tricky Treat Costume Ride this last Saturday was a success and TONS of fun. There were almost 50 riders and 85% of them came in costume. The first prize went to the Minnesota Viking and her faithful steed. Second place was an original costume that referred to himself as the “Antelope Island Road Kill”. He had a broken helmet as well as an arm and buffalo tracks all over. Third place brought in the Groovy Trio. Though, I will say that it almost made me think of Thing One and Thing Two when my friends Diane & Kym stood next to each other. And in fourth place were a copper and robber. After the costume contest we did door prize drawings. Thanks to the donations and help from my wonderful group of friends, there were a little over 25 door prizes for the riders to possibly win. It was very nice because a great deal of the riders went home with something. A BIG THANKS to Doug Jensen, the Levenson’s, Penny Perkins, Curt Griffin, the BCC Club, and my Disneyland friend Sal.

Myself, the "Holy Ghost", & 2nd Place Winner- Antelope Road Kill.

3rd Place Winners- The Groovy Trio- Diane, Stephen, & Kym.

4th Place- Cops & Robbers!

I was just amazed at the variety of costumes. There were two REAL highlights once the ride started. One of the highlights of the ride was a donut stop at a local bike shop (Salt Lake City Bike Company) where we got to play a version of the “Wheel of Fortune” and win tire patch kits, water bottles, or a tire tube. The other highlight happened as all 50 of us waited at a stop light. As we stood with our bikes waiting for the light a group of Japanese tourists were in the cross walk. They stopped and quickly grabbed their cameras. It was a variation of paparazzi! Cameras were flashing and various people standing by us having their picture taken. I was crying because I was laughing SO hard. Sometimes, there’s some truth in stereotypes?

And the month report for October....
I still have 7 more lbs. to lose to my goal weight.

I'm currently working on porch #83,84, & #85.  I seem to be having issues with completely finishing a painting.  I'm hoping to cure that problem soon!

STATS for the Month...
18.5 miles Running
100 miles Cycling
2 hours 3 minutes on elliptical
Read 5 books this month --up to 53 books for the year!